While my dark contrasts are still wet, I like to move right into the midtone values. This allows me to move the oil paint around and blend more easily, so I can keep the structure of the different elements in check.
I am still using filbert brushes (as large as possible) for these initial stages of the painting process. I am always anxious to pick up the smaller brushes to begin my favorite part of each painting… the details. But it is important that I restrain myself, while I am fine-tuning the blocks of values, colors and structure.
I will let this layer cure to a firm enough surface to withstand the scrumbling and glazing that will come next.